Caroline Lennox, president of Central Saanich Community Gardens Society, and Sander Eijgenraam, treasurer, are pleased with Central Saanich’s decision to sign off in principle on their plans to create a community garden at 1223 Clarke Road. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Caroline Lennox, president of Central Saanich Community Gardens Society, and Sander Eijgenraam, treasurer, are pleased with Central Saanich’s decision to sign off in principle on their plans to create a community garden at 1223 Clarke Road. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Central Saanich council plants support for first community garden

Proposed community garden would be located at 1223 Clarke Rd.

Plans for a community garden in the Brentwood Bay neighbourhood of Central Saanich, the first of its kind in that community, are growing more concrete after council signaled support “in principle” for the idea with more details coming next year.

“As we are looking for densification in our community and specifically, the village of Brentwood Bay, there is a real need for something like this,” said Coun. Gordon Newton before he joined the rest of his colleagues voting in favour of the project. “I think the research that that they have done on this project has shown that.”

Staff will now work with the Central Saanich Community Gardens Society to turn 511 square-metres of publicly owned land at 1223 Clarke Rd. next to the Boys and Girls Club into a community garden that would allow residents without green space to grow their own food, starting with 15 to 20 individual plots with one or more communal plots. The group eventually plans to have 45 plots.

“We’re stoked to get going, anywhere and are grateful to the staff, council and mayor for the great job they did,” said Caroline Lennox, president and founder of the group that formed in May and already maintains a waiting list for plots.

Central Saanich staff chose Clarke Road as the best location from five sites, noting it meets several criteria including walkability as it would offer gardening opportunities to individuals living in high density areas.

According to a staff report, the site is the most central with 1,725 properties within a 1-km radius. “There are a number of strata units with minimal garden space; higher density residential proximity is a major factor in success for community garden,” it reads. The site is also near schools, a seniors centre, library and close to a public washroom at the cultural centre, while accessible by transit.

According to staff, the Boys and Girls Club has used the site in the past, but has other options available. The public also heard that the club would get a plot in the new community garden, with other groups including local schools and First Nations, also promised plots.

RELATED: Victoria’s community garden plots a hot commodity

The project faces one legislative hurdle. Council would have to rezone the lot currently zoned residential to enable its future use as a community garden with the staff noting that “common concerns regarding community gardens include neighbours’ concerns about the visual appeal of the site.”

Community gardens have risen in profile and popularity in recent years, partly because of growing density, and Lennox said the group is looking to expand the concept to other parts of the community, as demand and resources allow. Lennox said the group is especially interested in having a site in Saanichton, but that will have to wait for now.

“It is more important to get started somewhere, anywhere, because without land we can’t apply for grants,” said Lennox.

Coun. Bob Thompons alluded to this aspect in acknowledging that the chosen site is likely smaller than what the group would have liked. “But it is important that we have a site that is fairly easy to access, and that the society will be able to demonstrate that they can be successful,” he said.

The public also heard Coun. Niall Paltiel draw attention to any potential financial liabilities for the municipality when he asked about assurances from the non-profit society that the project won’t lead to “the financial ask getting greater and greater” as operations become more challenging.

The public heard from staff that the society believes it could be sustainable within three years based on the experience of other community gardens, but also acknowledged the need for additional analysis.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Saanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Central Saanich park among sites for local Garry oak restoration projects

Habitat Acquisition Trust received $140,000 in funding for 12 projects

A family of ducks that lives near Saanich Municipal Hall recently welcomed 11 ducklings and took them for a swim in the koi pond outside the offices. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Pair of ducks make Saanich Municipal Hall a nursery for 11 hatchlings

Family of ducks spent time in koi pond before heading down to Swan Lake

Architect’s rendering of the 7 Erskine Lane development, showing the view from the east and south. (VDA Architecture Ltd. image)
View Royal green-lights residential development on Erskine Lane

First of two developments near Victoria General Hospital will provide 71 housing units

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read